My writing practice has been sporadic and lacking commitment my whole life. One possible culprit, which I look at as an  “Oops!” is when I destroyed a few years worth of my journals early in my twenties.


I was embarrassed someone would read them. I’m not sure anyone would have been patient enough to read through the drivel, but I was scared they would.

Now, I look back and think I would like to read them again, especially after so many more life experiences.

Back when they were written, I was a new Christian and dating and breaking up with my future husband. I would have never believed a few years later he was going to turn out to be my husband of 38 years and counting.

Now, I would like to see what I wrote about him.

That probably started my semi-unexamined life’s journey. Of course, my life has been well worth living. It’s been a delightful journey. I believe I have grown and developed through many of my mistakes, but I do wish I had kept more journal entries.

I have continued to toss out occasional journals over the years since, but a few writing successes along the way include:

  • I journaled during my pregnancies and the first year of both my daughter’s lives. As the children grew, though, I wrote less in their journals. When I was a mother of young children, and then later when I became a full-time teacher and mother to school-age children, I did not take much time to write. The stresses of life and exhaustion kept me from the page.
  • For the past eleven years, I have used, very sporadically the website 750Words.com. I have written nearly a quarter of a million words–237,845, to be exact. That is not that many over eleven years, but there is some truth there.  I just went to the page after being away for a year and half, and I downloaded the entries I made. Much drivel, to be sure. However, I stumbled upon one gut-punch entry about a nightmare I had, but how it turned out to shed light on how I had hurt one of my students. Now, I had not remembered the dream or the pain I had caused that child, but reading it took me back and makes me want to be better. That’s some examination I need more of.
  • The third success is that since Covid came, I kept a book of journal entries and daily jots in my weekly planner. I felt like it would be good to capture this pandemic as it was happening day-by-day. I also created a Covid-19 time capsule with my students last spring. I interviewed my children and had my husband write a letter to me.
  • Finally, I have been a fairly consistent blogger, which has helped me to write, record, examine, and develop my writing over the past twelve years. In addition, it has helped me to develop friendships with people all over the world who are also writing about learning, life, and education. Blogging led me to meet Gallit Zvi, and we wrote The Genius Hour Guidebook together, so that was fun. Lately I’ve been writing poetry with the Ethical ELA and Poetry Friday communities, the Slice of Life on Tuesdays, and now here is the Sharing Our Stories Magic group I just discovered too.

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

This post is inspired by Connor Toomey’s prompt on The Isolation Journals: “What interrupts your writing practice? What keeps you from the page?”

Journal Entry About Journaling

“It is an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I—nor for that matter anyone else—will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old school girl.” —Anne Frank

“The diary is an art form just as much as the novel or the play. The diary simply requires a greater canvas; it is a chronological tapestry which, in its ensemble, or at whatever point it is abandoned, reveals a form and language as exacting as other literary forms.” —Henry Miller

“The diary taught me that it is in the moments of emotional crisis that human beings reveal themselves most accurately. I learned to choose the heightened moments because they are the moments of revelation.” —Anaïs Nin

“In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.” —Susan Sontag

Today’s prompt is to write a journal entry about journaling…

My journaling is always hit and miss. Over my lifetime, I have written and lost or thrown out more journals than I can count. I wish someone would have nurtured my writing life as Suleika’s mother seemed to have done for her by giving her a journal to record her experiences when they moved to another country for a year.

The good thing I can say over my lifetime is that I have become less afraid of my words. There were journals, several at least, that I have memories of tearing pages out and destroying them so no one would ever be able to read them. (Me, perhaps?) I can only imagine how much I could have learned about myself had I saved those “scary” journals I wrote and didn’t even dare to reread myself. What did I say that I was so afraid of?

I often write a few pages in a new journal, then I lose interest or get too busy and neglect it. Later I will pull out the used pages and have a new journal for another purpose.

This year, since the Coronavirus shelter-in-place orders, I have had more time and have done more writing. (Interestingly, my one little word for 2020 was time; I wanted to value it and use it well. Covid-19 has given me more time and I am happily using well the extra time I have been given.)

I write prayers, poems, thoughts, learnings, and anything that interests me at the moment. Oftentimes, it is related to the political and cultural climate of the U.S. right now, even though I have been living 8,000 miles away from my U.S. home.

I started writing with the #100DaysofNotebooking challenge in January, and that really recharged me and made my journals more colorful and treasured. I do like writing in my journal, but I also like writing on my blog, as it is more portable and easier to keep than a lot of physical notebooks.

I enjoy writing with prompts, especially when I don’t have inspiration for the day. But given an idea that pops into my head, I can write up a storm and do.

Monday, Memorial Day in the U.S. and Day 90 in Bahrain, also the second day of Eid Al Fitr. This is Day 55 of The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad.